Web development is a highly complex and intricate process but, over the past few years, there’s been a rise in free, template-based website creation modules.
Most people wonder how much web development costs and, honestly, there’s no simple answer to that question. As noted earlier, some websites are completely free, but we all intuitively know that’s not the ideal option. The originality of website design and completely personalized structure is what wows new visitors and wins your business a level of trust in the market. This is why many business owners are opting for custom website development instead of creating a site from scratch using free website builders.
So, which option will suit your needs better? Let’s take a quick look.
How to Estimate Web Development Cost
The cost of web development is far from being constant. It all comes down to the effort required and the skill of the person developing the site. Basic maintenance costs aside, web development and design is perhaps the biggest cost factor for developing an online presence. All in all, you have two main options: using a free website builder or hiring a professional web developer to handle the issues without your hands-on involvement.
Option #1: Free Website Builders
We noted earlier that website creator tools allow you to create template-based sites for free. This option may be better suited for:
- personal blogs, portfolios, etc.; or
- anyone who needs to launch a site ASAP.
However, the editing features for such sites are limited at best. You will also most likely have to put up with annoying ads, low storage quotas, a randomly generated domain name, and no “fancy” features such as eCommerce or a content management system (CMS) to help manage your website.
To make any sort of impact, you’ll probably end up buying premium features. These usually go for around $300 per year for an individual site. Thus, even a free site is not truly free, at least not if you want a custom domain name. And most businesses will want a custom domain name.
Should You Use WordPress for Web Development?
WordPress is one of the most popular free website builders with access to free themes and plugins. Using WordPress does give you a fair amount of control over your site, especially if you have confidence in your technical and design skills. It does have premium options though, not counting the hosting, for which you would also have to pay.
The total cost of a WordPress website is hard to estimate. Remember, it depends on the hosting provider you choose. Overall, the average cost of web development will be significantly cheaper than hiring a pro.
Option #2: Custom Web Development
With true customization, you get a site that better reflects your business. However, these custom web development services will cost more.
For instance, a freelance web developer will ask anywhere from $500 to $5,000 on average for a single project. The total will be much higher for web development agencies as they offer unparalleled design and development features. The latter creates websites capable of generating thousands of business leads and thus pay for the investment sooner.
Remember that even if you entrust your web project to an expert, you’ll still have to contribute your fair share to ensure you get the result you want. This option works best for:
- complex websites with eCommerce or CMS functions;
- large-scale web projects; or
- anyone who has the budget but not the time to do it themselves.
How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost?
Is your site finally live? Don’t put your wallet down just yet.
In order to keep your website up and running, you will have to invest in routine maintenance. You’ll have to make annual payments for renewing the domain name, SSL certificate, and more. Website hosting alone may end up costing you anywhere between $25 and $10,000 per year. Finally, if your website has an eCommerce CMS system installed, it may also come with maintenance costs associated with it.
Maintaining a site can cost anywhere between $400 to $60,000 per year. As always, it will all depend on the scale of your project and your specific needs, as well as who you hire to deal with all of your maintenance issues.
No Such Thing as “One-Size-Fits-All”
The average cost of web development, as outlined above, is not an exact science. You can find all sorts of web development packages online, discount offers, and whatnot. But in the end, your biggest concern is the impact your site will create, which is the most important aspect for any business site or eCommerce store.
Weigh your needs on both ends of the web development scale and go for the option that best fulfills your requirements without overspending. In the end, premium-quality websites will remain unbeatable in the business arena, so choose wisely!